As the Gospel opens today, Jesus has just learned that John the Baptist has died. Jesus and Apostles decided to take a few days by themselves, so they got into a boat and headed away from the crowds for the other side of the lake – but they did not go unnoticed. The people began to follow them. They wanted to hear Him speak again, and perform another miracle.

When Jesus arrived at the other side of the lake, He saw the vast crowds estimated at fifteen to twenty-five thousand people waiting for Him on the shore. He placed His own need for rest on the back burner. He disregarded His personal safety. He put His grief for John the Baptist on hold.

As today’s gospel progresses, the crowds were over-whelmed by compassion. They were so caught up in the cures that Jesus was performing, and straining their ears for anything He might say, that missing a meal was the last thing on their minds.

The Apostles approached Jesus about giving the crowds something to eat. Their suggestion was to send the people away “Buy some food for themselves.” Jesus’ response was: “There is no need to send them away, give them something to eat yourselves.” “We have nothing to eat here but five barley loaves and a couple of fish.” “Bring me the fish,” He told them; and He multiplied the bread and fish. There was more than enough to feed all twenty-five thousand people.

The next day, the people followed Him to the other side of the lake hoping to be fed again and to see a few more miracles. Jesus told them: “You are not looking for Me because you have seen signs, but because you have eaten your fill of the loaves. You should not work for perishable food but for food that will last unto eternal life.” (John 6:25)

Then He said: “I am the bread that has come down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is My flesh for the life of the world.” His listeners couldn’t believe their ears! They understood exactly what He said and what He meant.

They understood Him literally and correctly. He again repeated His words, but with greater emphasis, and introduced the statement about drinking His blood: “If you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink.”

From this point on, most of Jesus’ followers broke away from Him and would not follow Him any longer. This incident in the Gospel is the only record of Jesus’ followers walking away from Him for purely doctrinal reasons. Twelve times in the Gospel of St. John, Jesus said that He Himself was the “Bread of Life come down from heaven”. Four times He said they would have to “eat His flesh and drink His blood”.

If what Jesus had said was all a big misunderstanding, if the people just weren’t catching what He was saying, He could have called them back and explained further – but He didn’t. He simply let them go!

This promise of Jesus – spoken about in the Gospel today – became a reality at the last supper on the night before He died. Jesus took the bread and wine – simple common foods, and said: “This is My body” (not a sign of my body, not a symbol of my body, but this is My body) which is to be given up for you! He did the same with the cup of wine: “This My blood which is about to be poured out for you!” Jesus was not playing games!

When we participate in this sacrifice of the Mass, we are not only remembering the death of the Lord that took place 2000 years ago, but we come into contact with those events which continue to take place now. In this mass, the merits of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection are taking place now.

In this Divine Sacrifice of the Mass, we are truly united to Jesus as He is offered to His Father. Only through, with and in Jesus in this sacrifice of the mass are we completely acceptable to the Father – there is no other way – no book, no prayer, no song, no program, no meditation, no gimmick!

If you are looking for religious entertainment, turn on your tv and watch the singing, dancing, and preaching. If you want the real and true presence of the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ – if you want to be acceptable to God the Father in union with Jesus Christ crucified – then you are in the right place. It’s as simple as that!

Never, never let anyone shake your faith in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist! Never fall for the quoting or misquoting of some scripture text by some misguided zealot from a church started by a fallen-away catholic or by some misinformed preacher who obtained his or / her theology from a mail-order seminary in Texas!

It is absolutely clear in the New Testament what Jesus intended, and promised His Eucharist would be. If anyone tries to attack or destroy your faith in the Eucharist, refer him to the sixth chapter of St. John’s Gospel.

Remember too, which Apostle it was who shared the lack of faith of the people who walked away from Jesus when he spoke about the eucharist. – his name was Judas.